Books as Mirrors: Ensuring Children See Themselves
in the Literature They Read

True to our mission of cultivating readers and nurturing writers, we believe that children need to be able to see their race, culture, family dynamics, and neighborhoods in the books they read. That’s why we started “Books as Mirrors,” a three-year initiative that will provide more than $200,000 worth of new, diverse, and culturally relevant books to Spartanburg County public elementary school libraries.

How it Works

Hub City has compiled a growing master list of diverse picture and chapter books that contains over 400 titles. Each book has been hand-selected for its ability to discuss one or more of the following topics: Diverse Family Representation, Identity, Crossing Borders, Making a Difference, and Mental Health. These themes address the wide number of challenges and social issues children in Spartanburg County face every day.

We coordinate with the principals, vice principals, media specialists, and reading coaches of each school before we assess the unique needs of their library. After conducting a minimum of two school visits, we work with media specialists to create a personalized list of books from our master list. These books are intended to help fill the gaps in each collection, and will be delivered within the year of participation.   

School Selection

Our goal is to ensure that every public elementary school in the county has a plethora of books that reflect their diverse student body. As we work to bring Books as Mirrors to all qualifying schools, we will place special importance on “priority schools,” specifically schools with higher numbers of multicultural students, and schools designated as high-poverty schools (public schools where more than 75% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.) 

Year 1 Schools:
Cleveland Academy of Leadership, Drayton Mills Elementary, Duncan Elementary School of the Arts, Jesse S. Bobo Elementary, Roebuck Elementary, and Woodland Heights Elementary

Year 2 Schools: 
Arcadia Elementary, E.P. Todd Elementary, Lone Oak Elementary, Mary H. Wright Elementary, and New Prospect Elementary

How You Can Help

Fundraising is still underway to guarantee the success of the program beyond year two. If you’re interested in adopting a school, pledging your support for a year, or giving a one-time donation to Books as Mirrors, please contact Julie Jones at or mail a check (please write Books as Mirrors in the memo line) to:

Hub City Writers Project
186 West Main St.
Spartanburg, SC 29306



Press Release



Community Support









Impact Statements

Roebuck Elementary
Katrina Hankins, Literacy Coach

“Although ‘Books as Mirrors’ is a timely topic, these books will be in our media center so that students can see themselves represented for years to come.  In addition, teachers will be able to use these books in their classrooms to model lessons and entice reluctant readers. Clearly, having these resources at our fingertips will encourage conversations and growth in understanding as well as literacy.”

Cleveland Academy of Leadership
Robin Chandler, Media Specialist

"Our population at The Cleveland Academy of Leadership (CAL) is predominantly African American with the rest divided between Hispanic and Caucasian students. These children need more stories that reflect themselves and their lives—be it cultural, religious, their gender, and families so they can make a connection to their lives. Books as Mirrors has the potential to greatly enhance these factors in our collection.”  

Drayton Mills Elementary
Brian Gregory, Media Specialist

“Drayton Mills Elementary's student body is wonderfully diverse. Our African American population is our largest group in the school and we also have the largest Hispanic population in District Seven. Despite this, our library collection does not always reflect this diversity with a much larger percentage of books featuring children who look very different from ours (and many with animals as the protagonists). While we have made strides on our own to address this issue, our limited budget makes wide scale reform impossible. Our students would benefit tremendously from an influx in diverse reading materials from the Hub City Writers Project.”  


Pauline-Glenn Springs Elementary
Molly Phillips, Media Specialist

“Part of our vision at Pauline-Glenn Springs Elementary, is to learn self-confidence and self-worth as well as recognize and embrace different cultures. It is also our belief that all students are unique individuals who desire to be cared for, respected, and loved. In our learner standards, we state that students will display a tolerance and an appreciation for cultural diversity. One of the most valuable ways to achieve our vision beliefs, and standards, is to saturate the students with literature that supports those goals. This is why we need more diverse books in our library. We want all of our students to see themselves and the outside world in books that they read."

“Mirrors, Windows, & Sliding Glass Doors”


Books as Mirrors gets its name from Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's famous essay on multicultural literacy, "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors."

Our master list themes are inspired by Reading to Make a Difference, by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Kelly.

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